Change purchasing habits to be environmentally friendly

I applaud the move to bring attention to the impact synthetic clothing, detergents and washing clothes have on the environment (Save the planet by washing your clothes less often; April 2).

But it is not enough to simply understand the damage these cause.

It is also crucial to understand our roles as consumers.

Collectively, consumers serve as a means to regulate the market, as manufacturers have to meet the demands of the market.

We have to consider our purchases carefully and make socially responsible decisions. By buying an environmentally harmful product, we are supporting the manufacturing of that product and harming the environment.

However, it is difficult for us to identify which products are environmentally harmful and which are environmentally safer.

Perhaps the Government could consider a programme similar to the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Safer Choice scheme, which certifies products that are environmentally friendly and labels them so consumers can make an informed choice.

Our existing "tick" system to certify water-efficient appliances could be expanded to other aspects of our lives.

It is clear that our personal habits have an impact on the environment.

I hope that Singaporeans will be more environmentally conscious, play their part as individual consumers and continue to fight for the environment.

Phua Keng Yung

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2018, with the headline 'Change purchasing habits to be environmentally friendly'. Print Edition | Subscribe